5.3 Describing Vision
EGL Newsletter Volume 5.3
This is one of the most problematic of the competencies to describe, as our language is fairly short on words that describe the totality, or gestalt, of vision. Inevitably, we wind up talking about some aspect or attribute, because of the immensity of talking about the whole of a vision can make it almost meaningless. Regardless, we must still be aware of the different aspects and consciously work to expand our perception.
Vision is classically used as a mental image of the future. This is where we begin to first understand how the language simultaneously limits and liberates us. While the vision encompassed the entire picture, sometimes it is easier and more boundable to talk about just an aspect of it. However, be focusing on just an aspect, we can inadvertently become convinced that the aspect is all there is to the vision.
We can start this by just looking at the word “vision”. If you look at the definition of this word, you will see that it can refer to the ability to see, as in “having sight”, as well as usage of “a mental image that does not exist”. More common to our purposes, we have the usage of “a mental image of the future”. Now, all of these are useful and are certainly representative of aspects of vision.
Using “vision” as a term brings with it the connotations of the word from everyday usage. This brings in the aspects of a picture, or visual image, and that it is very often used to refer to the future. However, as we talk about the ability to create transformation through inspiration, we begin to understand that the competency we call ‘vision’ is one that transcends representational system and time. The good news is that you can still use the term and that it is less important for others to understand the difference. For the leader, though, it is vitally important to understand these nuances of vision.
In this work, we strive for a much more robust and varied use, which is more of a definition of “what is possible” than anything else. We talk about exemplary leaders, and one of the common things we will hear is that the person “has a vision”, or they can see where we are going. All in all, that is essential to creating positive change. Ultimately, though, we will want to live in that vision, and have the positive attributes associated with it. We will want to get there. The competency we describe here is more than just having a vision, it is having one that you can bring into reality. This allows us latitude to begin to manifest that vision.